Last updateWed, 24 Feb 2021 1pm


Sakamoto Days: The Secret Life of a Former Killer

Sakamoto“Sakamoto Days” is a new manga published by Shonen Jump and Viz Media.

It follows Taro Sakamoto, a former hitman who put his career on the backburner after falling in love with a shop clerk. He settled into his new life as a quiet, reserved father and husband, but his reputation comes back to bite him after a few courageous acts reveal his true identity.

The manga is action-orientated on its surface, but a comedy at its heart. The extent of Taro’s hitman skills is pushed to laughable heights, like deflecting a bullet shot his way by spitting out a piece of gum to change its path.

Sakamoto Days shows its action with these beautiful, lightly scuffed lines around movement.

The perfect amount of blur is applied to imply the action to the reader, but it doesn’t take away from any of the artwork. It makes it seem as though we’re seeing a paused frame from the middle of the action, and not something specifically drawn for that single moment. I never once had any trouble identifying what was happening. The contrast is perfect between the background, foreground and gestures of the characters.

Speaking of the characters, the cast is light but deep in charm. The series is only on its 10th chapter, so there’s still room to grow, but the main group seems to be settled.

Shin, an aspiring young hitman who was ordered to take out Sakamoto, ends up working at the store as a clerk. Sakamoto is won over by Shin’s ambition and loyalty to his boss, helping to free him from his hitman obligations so long as he helps around the store. The two have a great dynamic. Sakamoto is gravely quiet and Shin is loud and bombastic, but the two work together well and play off each other in a natural way.

I was originally skeptical of Lu Xiaotang’s inclusion, the rich heir to a family dynasty that Sakamoto and Shin intervene to save from a few thugs. She originally seemed to be a temporary, arc-only character, but her personality has really flourished in the few chapters of which she’s been an active cast member.

At only 10 chapters, I’m excited to see where this manga goes. Its humor is sharp, the action is beautifully drawn and the premise is a thousand times more original than most of Shonen Jump’s current lineup. I hope the series gets to spread its wings and doesn’t face cancellation for being too out of left field.

IMAGE TAKEN from Shonen Jump

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